On 15 July 2008, the Seimas amended the law on Commercial Arbitration and adopted a law on Conciliatory Mediation in Civil Disputes. Both legal acts came into force on 31 July 2008. Amendments to the law on Commercial Arbitration abolish Chapter IX, which established conciliatory mediation in civil disputes as an alternative for resolving disputes without the intervention of the court or arbitration. However, the new law on Conciliatory Mediation in Civil Disputes actually fulfi ls the abolished regulation by setting up a procedure for dispute resolution, when one or more impartial third natural persons help the parties to settle their dispute amicably. The new law was adopted in order to regulate conciliatory mediation of civil disputes and determine conditions as well as the legal consequences of its application. The law applies to judicial and nonjudicial conciliatory mediation of civil disputes except for disputes for which settlement agreements are considered as void by law. Conciliatory mediation applies following a written agreement between the parties. The agreement may be concluded before or after the dispute arises. If the parties have not agreed upon this method of dispute resolution and apply to the court under general procedures, the court may propose settlement by way of conciliatory mediation. When a dispute is settled by way of conciliatory mediation, a settlement agreement is concluded.
This may be submitted to the court for approval. A settlement agreement approved by the court has the same force on the parties as a fi nal court decision.
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